MADISON, Wis. — Yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced that Wisconsin will receive over $1 billion dollars to expand broadband access as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda.
Made possible by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which passed without the vote of a single Wisconsin Republican in Congress, the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All program will help connect thousands of Wisconsin families to reliable and affordable high-speed internet.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin to receive more than $1 billion in federal funds to expand broadband in underserved areas
Wisconsin will receive more than $1 billion in federal funds to expand high-speed internet access throughout the state, President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday.
Wisconsin’s share of $42.45 billion in Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program funds — distributed throughout the country under the sweeping 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law — will go to internet service providers as they build and expand broadband services in areas of the state that need them most.
The newly announced allocation is part of the Biden administration’s “Internet for All” initiative.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said the announcement means people who currently lack “access to quality, affordable high-speed internet service” will soon see that remedied.
“Whether it’s connecting people to the digital economy, manufacturing fiber-optic cable in America, or creating good-paying jobs building Internet infrastructure in the states, the investments we’re announcing will increase our competitiveness and spur economic growth across the country for years to come,” Raimondo said in a statement.
On a call with reporters, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, said the funding is “long overdue” and will offer a “transformational investment” that “will help ensure that regardless of where you live in our great state, that you have access to high-speed internet.”
According to the state Public Service Commission, the money will support efforts to bring internet service with download speeds of at least 100 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 20 Mbps (known as “100/20” service) to households and businesses considered to be “unserved” (lacking 23/5 service or entirely lacking service) and “underserved” (lacking 100/20 service), with unserved communities as the priority. The funds will be distributed through grants administered by the state as early as next year.
“At the Public Service Commission, we are committed to ensuring this funding gets to where it is needed as quickly as practicable while maintaining our high standard of transparency and our strong record of being responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars,” PSC chairwoman Rebecca Cameron Valcq said in a statement.
According to its 2021 Broadband Deployment Report, the Federal Communications Commission estimated that 6.8% of Wisconsinites lacked access to 25/3 broadband service, compared to the national average of 4.4%. According to a 2022 report from the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access, in 2020, Wisconsin’s median internet speed was 62/11 Mpbs.
“These days, having broadband is like having water or electricity in your home,” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) said on a call with reporters. “You absolutely have to have it.”
Biden senior adviser Mitch Landrieu, who is overseeing the administration’s infrastructure programming, told reporters the expectation is for broadband expansion to be completely implemented throughout the country by 2030.